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Proceedings Paper

Internet robotics: an educational experiment
Author(s): Matthew R. Stein; Chris Ratchford; Karen T. Sutherland; David Robaczewski
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Paper Abstract

Robotics is a subject which captures the imagination of undergraduate students in many disciplines including Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. Despite this interest, when the topic is covered at all in an undergraduate program, the critical hands-on component of the course is often omitted. This is due to a number of causes ranging from the complexity of the subject to the availability of equipment. This paper describes a project to allow experimentation with robots through the Internet for the purpose of undergraduate education. An experimental system has been developed which links computer science students at the University of Wisconsin/LaCrosse with robots and Mechanical Engineering Students at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre PA. Unlike such systems constructed for the purpose of experimentation with time delay for shallow space or undersea manipulation, the focus of this system is the education of undergraduate students. This paper discusses how the educational goals affect the design of this system as well as the selection of tasks. Although there are clear advantages in capital and maintenance costs to sharing equipment, the emphasis here is on the significant educational benefits of this type of system. We show that remote operation leads to an understanding of the complexity and difficulty in specifying robot motions for an uncontrolled environment. This understanding is very difficult to achieve in a simulated or local settings where students have much greater control over the execution environment of the robot. The system was constructed in the summer of 1995, with experiments performed during the fall semester of 1995. Results of the experiments run by the joint undergraduate research groups as well as the associated educational outcomes are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 December 1995
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 2590, Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies II, (1 December 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.227931
Show Author Affiliations
Matthew R. Stein, Wilkes Univ. (United States)
Chris Ratchford, Wilkes Univ. (United States)
Karen T. Sutherland, Univ. of Wisconsin/La Crosse (United States)
David Robaczewski, Univ. of Wisconsin/La Crosse (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2590:
Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies II
Marcos Salganicoff, Editor(s)

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